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SWINDON TOWN: Three-goal Rooney just happy to be back
LUKE Rooney may have been celebrating a hat-trick at Hotel Veronello last night, but the winger was more delighted just to be back playing so early in pre-season.
Rooney scored three times during his 45-minute appearance in the 9-1 win over a local select XI at the Robins’ training base on the banks of Lake Garda, impressing throughout with his bursts of pace and tricky footwork.
And although it might have been the first time the former Gillingham man has netted a treble since firing a hat-trick in a friendly game for his former club against Bishop’s Stortford two years ago, Rooney was pleased just to be involved in a match scenario after the off-season break and a week of intense fitness training.
“It’s great just to get a game under your belt and it’s great to get a game so early in pre-season,” he said.
“We’ve only been back since a week yesterday and normally you’d have to wait a little longer and do more runs before you get a game in, but I’m sure it can only be a good thing because, no matter how fit you are from running, games are how you get fitness.
“It was thoroughly enjoyable to play a game because nothing beats playing.”
Rooney’s third goal of the evening came at the end of a neat free-kick move involving Alessandro Cibocchi and Raffa De Vita, a strike that evidently excited manager Paolo Di Canio on the touchlines.
And the wide man admitted he probably did save his best until last.
“Probably the free-kick (was the best) because we were working on that in training this morning, so it’s one off the training ground and I think the gaffer was pleased we tried it,” he said.
“You try a lot of things in training in terms of set-pieces and then it comes to matchday and you don’t do them. It was quite tight and I was surprised Raffa managed to get it through to me and, once he did, I toe-punted it into the bottom corner.
“It’s good that it happened straight away. We were practising this morning and to put it to practise straight to way is obviously pleasing not only for the players but for the management who organised it.”
It was another scorching hot day in northern Italy yesterday, and Rooney admitted the players felt the strain during the course of the match.
But overall he got the impression that Di Canio was satisfied with his performance and that of his teammates.
“It was very warm, especially leading up to kick-off it was absolutely roasting and probably the hottest day we’ve had out here,” he said.
“It did cool down in time for kick-off funnily enough and it was probably a bit easier in the second half. It was a factor and because it was so early it was a bit of a blow.
“He said it was a good workout. There was things he was pleased with and there was things he wasn’t pleased with but I think overall he will be pleased we all tried hard and were professional about the job.”